Caterpillar Inc. Earnings: Earnings Higher Than Expected

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter. Caterpillar offers construction and mining equipment as well as diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.

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Caterpillar Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for the farm and construction machinery company rose to $1.55 billion ($2.32 per share) vs. $968 million ($1.47 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 59.8% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 34.6% to $17.24 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: CAT beat the mean analyst estimate of $1.73 per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $16.05 billion.

Quoting Management: “Our strategy is squarely focused on customers, and in 2011 our employees, suppliers and dealers delivered. We improved product quality, invested significantly in manufacturing capacity and product development, and improved our market position. We completed two large acquisitions-Bucyrus and Motoren-Werke Mannheim Holding GmbH (MWM)-in important growth industries that are a great strategic fit and provide our customers an even broader range of products,” said Caterpillar Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman.

Key Stats:

The company has enjoyed double-digit year-over-year percentage revenue growth for the past five quarters. Over that span, the company has averaged growth of 46.4%, with the biggest boost coming in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year when revenue rose 62.2% from the year earlier quarter.

The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters. In the third quarter, net income rose 44.1% and in the second quarter, the figure rose 43.6%.

The company has now beaten estimates the last two quarters. In the third quarter, it topped expectations with net income of $1.93 versus a mean estimate of net income of $1.59 per share.

Looking Forward: Analysts appear increasingly optimistic about the company’s results for the next quarter. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year has moved up from $2.10 a share to $2.15 over the last ninety days. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the fiscal year has climbed from $6.78 per to share to $6.80.

Competitors to Watch: Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Astec Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTE), Columbus McKinnon Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCO), Manitowoc Company, Inc. (NYSE:MTW), Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI), CNH Global N.V. (NYSE:CNH), Navistar Intl. Corp. (NYSE:NAV), Terex Corporation (NYSE:TEX), and Lindsay Corporation (NYSE:LNN).

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com